Jared James

Photo: An African-American man, sitting, holding a drinking glass, wearing a Chicago Bears T-shirt. He has a neat circle beard and a buzz cut; his head is tilted back and his eyes half-closed; he is smiling.Name: Jared James.
Died: January 5, 2015.
Age at death: 24.
Cause of death: Shooting.
Location: Austin, Texas, USA.

Jared lived in a group home in a residential neighborhood. In the early morning, he “became agitated” and fled his group home, going to nearby houses and knocking on doors. The group home may have been unwanted in the neighborhood; one neighbor, when later questioned, called the group home “a scary place” that caused her to “keep her doors locked for years”.

When he knocked on the wrong door, the homeowner, believing he was trying to break in, shot Jared and killed him.

Jared had spent Christmas with his family. His older sister Erica “…characterized her brother as gentle and questioned the police’s version of events, saying he wasn’t the kind of person who’d try to kick down the door of a home.”

“‘That’s something completely out of character for him,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately, there’s only one side of the story … my brother isn’t here to defend himself.'”

The shooter, who thought Jared was trying to break in, has not been charged.

The group home where Jared lived has lost its license. An investigation determined that residents were poorly supervised by untrained staff who did not monitor patient medications.

Editor’s Note: Erica has a very good point here. Jared, a man who apparently didn’t make a habit of kicking down doors, had fled his group home and was going door-to-door, knocking on doors in the way that someone might if they were trying to find help or find shelter. We don’t know why Jared left his group home; we only know he “became agitated”, which could mean anything from a run-of-the-mill meltdown to a fight with another resident or with a staff member, or even an attempt to escape abuse or an unacceptably painful situation or sensory stimulus. When Jared knocked on doors in his neighborhood, frightened and probably cold, he was shot–essentially, shot for being black and autistic in public.

Homeowner shoots, kills man trying to enter his home
Family remembers man killed by homeowner as ‘gentle giant’
Man shot in Austin had Killeen connections
Austin group home has license revoked after investigation

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